When should a child start going to the dentist?

March 6, 2018

Parents are often excited to see the first teeth poke through their baby’s gums. It’s just one of many signs that the baby is healthy and growing. But, this milestone often leads to other questions, namely: When should a child start going to the dentist?

Parents wonder: Should the first dental visit be at a certain age? Should it be when the first tooth starts coming in? Or, should we wait until all the teeth are in? The American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends bringing your child in when the first tooth pokes through, or no later than age 1.

Why Start Dental Care for Children Early

By bringing your child to the dentist as a toddler, he or she will become familiarized with the staff and office in a positive, non-threatening way. During this first dental visit, the dentist checks for tooth decay and issues that could affect speech or eating. The dentist also will make sure teeth are erupting when they should.

This dental visit also is good for parents. This is the time when our trusted team of dentists and dental hygienists will review oral hygiene techniques and tricks to use at home to ensure your baby’s teeth stay healthy. Parents also learn about risk factors in the diet that could accelerate tooth decay.

After baby’s first dental appointment, it is recommended that children come every six months for their dental checkups. If your child experiences pain or trauma between checkups, contact your dentist immediately.

At What Age Should I Start Brushing My Baby’s Teeth?

Oral hygiene for your baby should start even before the first teeth begin to erupt. By starting early, your child will become familiar with good brushing habits, making it much easier for them to care for their own teeth when they get older.

Cleaning Before Teeth Erupt

To clean your baby’s gums, wipe the inside of their mouth with a warm wash cloth during bath time or when they are tired and relaxed. You should also wipe your baby’s mouth clean after every meal.

Cleaning After Teeth Start to Come In

There are a few techniques to try once your child’s teeth begin to erupt:

  • As a child begins to teethe, use your finger to clean and massage their mouth.
  • When teeth are erupting, switch to a soft-bristle baby toothbrush with toothpaste. The amount of toothpaste depends upon the age of the child.
    • For children 3 years and younger a smear the size of a small grain of rice is all that is needed.
    • Once children are able to spit, use an amount that resembles the size of a pea.
  • If your child gags on toothpaste, all you need is to wet the toothbrush with water.

When two or more teeth come in next to each other, begin flossing them once a day. Flossing cleans areas where the toothbrush cannot reach. Flossers work great and make the job easier.

Show Your Children Good Habits

Good dental care for children starts with family members. Because children learn through watching others, make sure they see you and other caregivers regularly brushing and flossing. Make home dental care fun and encouraging!

While brushing, have them listen to their favorite song. Or, when you are brushing their teeth, do a countdown, and take a break before starting to brush again. Kids like to know when they will be done, and counting keeps their mind busy during brushing.

Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit Today

So, when should a child start going to the dentist? As soon as you see that first, shiny tooth come through! At Govani Dental, we are passionate about treating babies and children and seeing their teeth grow and develop. When it’s time, call us to set up an appointment at 920-231-1955.

Ready to Join the Govani Dental Family?

If you’re interested in becoming a Govani Dental patient, schedule your appointment online or by calling 920-231-1955.

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